Firearm Registry- Political, Not a Pragmatic One?

Opinion by Chaz Forsyth

The value of a registry as a crime prevention and crime solving tool has repeatedly been advanced by its supporters..  The police on many occasions before the recent law changes have argued that a registry is not necessary for their operations, so the decision to embark upon a registry seems to be political, not a pragmatic one.  The late Sir Thomas Thorp qualified his support for a firearm register by noting that “…unless a compliance rate of not less than 90 percent can be achieved, the benefits derived from registration would be significantly reduced” (Thorp, 1997, p. 184).
Licensed firearm owners already offend if they illegally possess or sell firearms
Five offences exist in law for illegally supplying or possessing firearms.  These attract penalties of up to two years of imprisonment or fines of up to $15,000.
Limited crime prevention potential of full firearm registration
The police, in 1996, noted in their evidence-in-chief to the Thorp Review (1997) of firearms that there was little evidence that universal registration provided any real benefits unless it was accompanied by regular checks every 2-3 years on the firearms held by every firearm owner.
The police also noted that, “…there is little evidence that a registration system would be instrumental either in solving serious crime involving firearms or preventing them.  The majority of firearms used in serious crime do not belong to the offender and are usually stolen, unlawfully in their possession or supplied by other than a licensed owner.
Proponents for this measure also overlook the fact that although registration of motor vehicles for road use is near-universal, more than 20,000 motor vehicles are stolen annually, some of which undoubtedly feature in reported offending (Otago Daily Times 30 April 2022).  This is for a motor vehicle fleet of some 4.5 million vehicles.  Compared to firearms (for which an estimated 1.2 million are in private ownership in New Zealand), the annual total reported stolen is approximately 1,000, testament surely to the greater security afforded these items?
Just what we want – another waste of taxpayer’s money!

Otago Daily Times (2022), “Security roller door didn’t stop latest ram-raid”, Otago Daily Times, 30 April 2022.
Thorp, T.M. (1997) Review of Firearms Control in New Zealand – Report of an Independent Inquiry Commissioned by the Minister of Police.  Wellington, New Zealand: GP Print. (281 pp.).

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5 Responses to Firearm Registry- Political, Not a Pragmatic One?

  1. Jim Neal says:

    It’s well worn but it is true – firearms don’t kill on their own, people kill
    Backing that up is that firearms represent a very low percentage of weapons used in homicides (murders).

  2. "Cervus" says:

    A firearm registry will not help at all for the simple fact, the gangs and criminals will not have their firearms registered and known to police. Can the politicians and police not understand this logic?
    Not only is it a waste of police time and pointless, but it is a waste of public money.

  3. Dr. Charlie Baycroft says:

    There ought to be a cost-benefit analysis of all government initiatives to ensure that the working people whose taxes pay for everything get value in return.

    Who will benefit from this registration initiative?

    Responsible LFOs will receive no benefit at all. This registration will not prevent robberies or help restore our stolen property. It is more likely that the information will be insecure and available to criminals who would like to know where to steal desired firearms. No benefit there.
    There is also the likelihood that many law abiding LFOs will become criminalized for occasional n0n compliance that does not result in any harm to anyone or their property.
    Legislation that criminalizes inherently law abiding people is of no benefit to anyone.

    Will the average working taxpayer receive value for the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars of their money spent on this initiative?
    There is not evidence to suggest that LFOs having unregistered personal property is a significant problem for the ordinary working people of New Zealand.
    Criminals, who are a problem, will not be registering their arsenals or complying with the over zealous restrictions forced upon responsible LFOs, so there will be no significant reduction in firearm related criminal offences.

    Do the police officers who try to protect us from and apprehend robbers, rapists, violent bullies and murderers receive any benefit? Not at all because more of their resources will now be diverted to administering these useless regulations and forcing non-criminals to comply with them. Good news for criminals.

    Will the sale of firearms to unlicensed people be reduced?
    It will probably increase because a black market for unregistered guns will certainly develop and thrive just like the one for illegal drugs has.

    What about the ambitious politicians and the influential senior members of the 3 main political parties?
    Yes, they will definitely benefit because they will create political propaganda to manipulate the general public to believe that this has made them safer when is definitely will not.

    The main beneficiaries of this colossal waste of effort and money will be the Omnipotent Busybodies who hate firearms and the people that have and use them. These people will be encouraged and empowered to push even harder for registration to become confiscation.

    IMO, this legislation has been initiated to please the omnipotent busybodies who despise guns and anyone that does not agree with them.

    The elites in the 3 main political parties seem to have chosen these stirrers over the rest of the people and our logical response ought to be to fight back and do all we can to oppose the red, green and blue political parties and their representative politicians in the next election.

    Support the people in the smaller parties and they might appreciate it and treat us fairly and reasonably in return.

    • Roger Dewhurst says:

      This is NOT about preventing gun crime. It is about disarming the population as quickly as possible. The likes of Pol Pot, Mugabe, Xi, Jabcinda etc do not want a lawfully armed society.

  4. Teddy Roosterveldt says:

    The government and police are about to waste a vast amount of taxpayer money on a useless firearms registry burdening still further the police who have proved they cannot even run a simple firearms licencing system efficiently. This is a recipe for chaos and the money would be better spent on establishing the Independent Firearms Licencing Authority Ardern promised and then went back on her word (imagine my shock) and on measures to tackle gang crime.

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